Gift of Life Michigan achieves near-record number of organ donors in 2017

Gift of Life Michigan logo

Donor registrations surge with help from Secretary of State

ANN ARBOR – Gift of Life Michigan helped 320 patients become organ donors last year, saving the lives of hundreds of people in desperate need of a transplant. That number was second only to a record 327 deceased organ donors in Michigan in 2008.

Gift of Life also made it possible for 1,038 people to donate tissue in 2017, helping patients suffering from debilitating injuries and illnesses regain mobility and find relief from pain. That was the third highest in state history.

“Michigan is seeing so much good happening in donation and transplantation, and those things spell hope for the more than 3,000 fellow residents waiting for their second chance at life,” said Dorrie Dils, Gift of Life’s CEO. “On behalf of organ and tissue recipients, we thank the selfless donors and their families.”

Michigan also experienced another significant increase in the number of people adding their names to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. More than 340,000 joined last year, bringing the number of registered donors to more than 4.7 million.

That’s 62 percent of adults in this state – above the national average by about 5 percentage points.

“Registry growth is robust thanks to the generosity of Michigan residents and the dedication of our Secretary of State partners, who are helping us save more lives in the work they do,” Dils said.

A 2017 law now requires clerks to ask customers if they’d like to join the Donor Registry, essentially codifying the practice that Secretary of State Ruth Johnson put into place in 2011. The law was sponsored by state Sen. John Proos and supported by Johnson.

Other Gift of Life accomplishments in 2017:

· Michigan’s waiting list for organ transplants dropped from 3,533 to 3,327.

· The number of organs transplanted from Michigan donors was 876, the same as in 2016 .

· Gift of Life won Donate Life America’s Platinum and Pinnacle Awards for best overall organ donor registration program in the nation. The Transplant Center Challenge registered 2,732 people; St. John Transplant Specialty Center in Detroit won the competition among the state’s nine transplant programs.

Gift of Life is the intermediary between donors, their families, hospital staff and the state’s nine transplant centers. The Ann Arbor-based nonprofit organization also works to promote the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.

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EDITOR’S NOTES:

  • Anyone can join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, regardless of age or health history. To join or to learn more, go to GiftOfLifeMichigan.org or call 866.500.5801.
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